The thing about pain

عائشة الحبشي

Here’s the thing about pain.

It will consume you. It will overwhelm you. It will make you feel like nothing else is worth living for. It will control you. It will burden you. It will be something you carry in your heart for long periods of time. You won’t be able to forget it. You won’t be able to focus in other aspects of your life as you normally would, because the thing about pain, it can really overtake you.

But here’s the thing about healing. You have to forgive yourself first. The Most Merciful has been showering His Rahmah onto you, what about more, we say Alhamdulillah for everything that has been ordained upon us. Really say, “Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal” and believe it. Because the thing about healing is, it has to start from you. Make the change you wanna see. Ultimately, rely on Him. “إِنَّا…

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My Iso Journey (1-3 months)

Good afternoon lovely people.

Today, I have decided that I will document my isotretinoin (iso) journey for those who might find it useful. I’m only into my third month but I’ll provide updates as I progress.

I’m prescribed 10mg dosage (Acnotin) by my local GP doctor and I take it once daily. According to my knowledge, I am supposed to carry out a blood test prior to iso treatment. My dermatologist at Changi General Hospital kept on reiterating the importance of taking a blood test if I wanted to take iso. Oddly, my GP doctor didn’t get me to take a blood test. I’m also aware that the dosage prescribed typically depends on a patient’s height/weight but those, too, weren’t taken into account in my case. Now that I think about it, the whole process was so quick. It almost exactly went like this: I told the doctor I wanted to take iso and frustratingly explained to him the prior treatments I had undergone (antiobiotic treatment for approximately 2 years) to which he replied, “That is too long. You shouldn’t take antibiotics for that long.” After very briefly examining my skin condition, he instantly prescribed me the medication. Aaaand that was it.

I want to firstly clarify that I am in no way knowledgeable in the area. I did do some research but mostly relied on people’s accounts and my doctor hardly explained anything to me. I do know, however, that iso is risky business because it has plenty of side effects. One should only resort to iso if other treatments fail. But, this I have to say – to the people who are in the same boat as me: DON’T EVER take antibiotics for that long. Dermatologists often refuse to prescribe patients iso because of its risk. But once your body is immune to antibiotics, they become ineffective. Continuing antibiotics treatment for too long is simply a waste of time and money.  My dermatologist at CGH refused to prescribe me iso which is why I stopped seeing her. Now back to side effects of iso. My doctor only mentioned to me that I may experience dry lips and skin (perhaps because my dosage is very low) but I know that there are far more side effects than just those. If you want a detailed explanation, you can read about it here. The author also provided a comprehensive account of her iso journey which I found extremely helpful but this is my favourite part from her whole account:

According to dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD, isotretinoin is the “closest thing to a cure [for acne that] we have”…To be clear, notes Dr. Gross, “cured” means you won’t get pimples again. Ever.

I mean!!!! Honestly, I’ve forgotten what it was like to be pimple-free. I haven’t had acne for very long (about 3 years), but it was long enough to make me forget what it was like to have clear skin. At this point, I am no longer concerned about having flawless skin. Admittedly, it would be nice to have skin as smooth as a baby’s bum but that’s not important to me anymore. I just want the acne gone. That statement literally made me squeal. There is hope. InsyaAllah. But, boy, the process is not easy at all and I am certainly not excited for it.

I cannot recall exactly what happened during the first month but if I remember correctly, there were only slight improvements and negligible side effects. I cannot say for sure if the medication made my lips dry because my lips have always been dry anyway, but I can safely say that it did not worsen the condition. At least during the first month. While I’m on this topic, let me just quickly mention: Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask is a GODSEND for dry lips.

Image result for laneige pomegranate lip mask

It’s slightly costly but you do get a lot of product which can last you for up to months. Just to be clear, it’s not a lip balm. It’s a lip mask which you have to leave on overnight. You could use it as a lip balm if you want to but I wouldn’t recommend it because it has quite a sticky/tacky texture. Oh, I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it is. It makes my lips so soft and supple and so luscious. Ughh I loveeeeee. If you have dry lips, buy it!!! You won’t regret it.

Back to iso. The progress during the first half of the second month was close to nil but by the end of the second month, my acne began to multiply. It was so frustrating but it didn’t occur to me that I was experiencing purging until my sister pointed it out. Purging (or initial breakouts) is common during iso treatment. I don’t know the Science behind it but it happens. I’m still at my purging phase and as exasperating as it is, I know I have to be patient. I’m on the road to better skin. This will pass. I’ll just have to swallow whatever agony that comes my way during the journey. There’s just this one hugeass, painful cystic acne that I’m not happy about. It has been here for bloody weeks sitting casually beneath my right brow. So annoying. It’s SO PAINFUL okay. Ugh. I’m still very hopeful, nonetheless. The author I talked about earlier saw improvements into her fifth month of iso treatment and her acne was far worse than mine. I’m soooo bloody excited!!

By the way, I want to briefly talk about a homemade Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) toner that I’ve recently introduced into my daily routine. ACV has long been reported to be useful for acne because of its anti-bacterial properties. I’ve seen it in many threads for ‘clear skin’ on Instagram/Twitter but I’ve never thought of using it until recently when I chanced upon a blog detailing its benefits. I added 1 to 3 ratio of ACV (I use Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar) and distilled water for the toner concoction (add more water for sensitive skin) and have been using it for slightly more than a week now. I know it’s a bit of a stretch to claim that it’s effective since it hasn’t been long since I’ve started using it, but I really think it’s been helping with my scarring. I read somewhere that it works like a chemical peel treatment, wherein a chemical solution is applied to the skin, making the skin “blister” and peel off, giving room for new, smoother skin to form. It makes sense because ACV is acidic. I am not so sure if it’s good to use concurrently with iso treatment but I read that it’s okay to do so except I’ll have to be careful because ACV may dry up the skin further…which I can see is what’s happening now. Welp. If it’s proven to be truly effective for me, it means I can save some money which I would have used for a chemical peel/ microneedling treatment. It should be noted that the ACV treatment can only help with scars that are not deep. I’ll just see how it goes and will provide updates along the way!

Love, Amelia



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Cry, because you’re human.

Last week when I was watching an episode of The Return of Superman (South Korean reality-variety program), I saw something rather unnerving: Lee Dong-Gook telling his son, Si An, to stop crying because he’s a boy and boys shouldn’t be crying.

When I saw that, I felt like flipping the table because that’s pure bullshit. You should not be saying that to a young boy. Firstly, because he’s only 3 and he should be allowed to cry –  children cry! Obviously! Restricting children from expressing emotions is not right and simply ineffective, much like how it is for people of other ages. Secondly, of course, he’s human, before anything else. I’m certainly not bringing this up to criticise the way LDG brings up his children, but that statement triggered me because it is completely and utterly nauseating. It’s such a simple statement, but the fact that he felt it was okay to say that on national TV is an adequate representation of the normalcy of such form of toxic masculinity. This enduring stereotypical mindset has got to go because it is unrealistic, destructive and simply erroneous.

Boys/men should NEVER be expected to suppress their emotions (because it seems that showing emotions and expressing their feelings is “too feminine”). As mentioned, they are after all human, and crying is part of being human. Crying certainly does not make you weak.

Honestly, to all the boys/men: cry all you want. Bawl, even, if you need to. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to have feelings. It’s entirely, completely, perfectly okay!!




Strangers Like Before

Gut-wrenchingly beautiful.

Frank Solanki

We planned and we planned till we reached the end only to understand that what we had planned was not in our hands

Now we don’t plan anymore

We laughed and we laughed and it seemed enough but we knew in our hearts that it would be tough and destiny caught our bluff

Now we don’t laugh anymore

We played and we disobeyed like our love will never fade but we were afraid to be betrayed by a price too big to be paid

So we don’t play anymore

We talked and walked. We screamed and dreamed. We fought and sought. We had all the fun under the sun

Now we’re strangers like before

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Protected: I hate this ambiguity ):

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In need of a rant!!

Just please, let me.

I’ve been seeing this happen for so long and I’m honestly so, completely done with public figures endorsing dubious products that may be harmful to users.

It’s wrong on ALL levels. I am SO FRUSTRATED that this is happening in this day and age. Just the other day I came across several public figures endorsing waist trainers from a variety of suppliers. Which, to start off with, may not even be good for the body. Secondly, they had the nerve to encourage their followers to USE THEM WHILE EXERCISING. Like, what even? Are you even aware of how harmful that can be to our body? Just, why?

Honestly, EDUCATE YOURSELVES. You have been given the privilege to reach out to so many people through your social media platforms, you could’ve done something useful out of that privilege, but no – you just have to do something stupid as that?

You simply endorse products WITHOUT PRIOR RESEARCH. Is this really just for the money? Are you ignorant or are you just plain stupid? It’s not just the waist trainers. There are SO MANY products being circulated on Instagram – whitening products, ‘health’ products, ‘fitness’ products, pills, tablets, teas, what have you – possibly containing HARMFUL ingredients.

Like, ya Allah. I honestly can’t.

Ok end rant.


Life Updates

It’s been so long since I last posted! 2 months, at least (I’m referring to the public posts). I’ve completed my first term of study in university and just began my second term on Monday. Time truly flies. Alhamdulillah, for the most part, I enjoy school. I complain about assignments/ teachers/ etc from time to time, but my dissatisfaction is often short-lived. I have no major complaints about school, and I do not wish to act on my trivial displeasures because I chose to go to school, and Allah fulfilled my wishes. I will be grateful and will do my best in my power to achieve my best. Alhamdulillah, so far, my efforts have paid off, but I will remind myself, continuously, that grades are not everything.

Also, yesterday was the second time I listened to Ustazah Liyana’s live discussion on Instagram, and I must say, I truly, absolutely love her. She’s so lovely and extremely down to earth, she’s extremely raw, she’s not afraid of sharing her flaws, she discusses somewhat ‘taboo’ topics in Islam – for instance, love, which she mentioned is a topic she adores talking about, and, for lack of a better term, she stoops to our level, which makes me see her as a friend and fellow human who understands, more than a teacher, who, more often than not, come off as superior. I’m going to keep watching her live videos and perhaps, even watch her discussions in person.

Actually, I came to WordPress for a different reason. My skin condition has been taking a toll on my emotional well-being, and try as I might to be accepting of it, it really isn’t easy. I’m not going to go into the whole pep talk on beauty because I’ve done it before. And while I do not care for a moment about the external appearance of other people and see beauty in everyone, because surely, everyone is beautiful in their own way, I cannot say the same for myself. Indeed, we are our own worst critic. But the worst part for me is that the effort invested into controlling/curing it doesn’t seem to pay off.  I took antibiotics for about two years (on and off), I use different facial washes, apply different sorts of creams and gels, but none seem to be working and they’re burning a hole in my parents’ pockets, which, really, is so sad. What’s worse is my sister and younger brother also have problematic skin. Treatment and medication for skin conditions are EXPENSIVE. Anyway, I’ve finally stopped taking antibiotics and just today was prescribed isotretinoin, which is a ‘higher level’ acne medication. In a sense, it’s riskier than antibiotics but I’m willing to risk it because antibiotics aren’t working anymore. Acne is painful and acne bloody sucks, but I have to remember that acne – the fact that I have acne – was willed by Allah. And Allah is my creator. So I will trust Him.

Yesterday, my mother told me that my father said we (as in my sister and I), must inform our potential spouses, whoever they may be, of our skin condition and let them decide whether they want to go ahead with getting to know us (i.e. eventually marrying). When I heard that I felt so criticised because, at that moment, I thought, “Oh, so if we have acne, it makes us less worthy of love?”. But I know how acne is like any other diseases – diabetes, eczema, pneumonia, what have you. I understand that. But I want to know, do we actually need to let other people know if we have some type of disease, whatever they may be? Is it only fair that we do that? I’m not saying we have to keep them in the dark, because honestly, I would let other people know, but I would say it as a fact, because it is a fact about me, much like telling others I love to cook, I’m studying Social Work, so on and so forth. At the same time, I can understand why my parents would say that because, for one, I surely do not want my child to experience the skin conditions I’m experiencing. I know how sad, how frustrating, how emotionally painful it can be. And at the same time, I feel like it isn’t fair because I want to get married and I want to have children. I don’t know, perhaps it’s due to the way I’m brought up? You have to understand that I am prone to all sorts of skin conditions, not just acne. I also have eczema and I’m prone to allergies. Please help ): Let me know what you think.

Lots of love,


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